!! SACRED CONVERSATIONPlease join us for SACRED CONVERSATION ON RACE as we seek to engage in conversation that will lead us to action. We are joining together with Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC), and Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) to have four conversations.

The opening and closing conversations will be held together with all participating churches on Sunday, September 13 (3 – 6 p.m.) and November 8 (3 – 6 p.m.) at First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson (401 Darst Road, Ferguson  63135). The middle two conversations will be hosted at Union Avenue Christian Church on September 20 and October 18 (1 – 3 p.m.). We will offer a $5 lunch following worship on these two Sundays.

We will spend some time in prayer, some time learning, some time speaking and some time listening. All are welcome and encouraged to join the conversation.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our 2015 Urban Mission Inn outreach ministry.

We offer our thanks and heartfelt gratitude to the members and friends of Union Avenue Christian Church who provided welcome gifts and who shared dessert and conversation with guests and participated in sacred conversations about race. We offer our sincere thanks to our community partners — Gateway Greening, The Bridge, St. Louis Area Foodbank, Lydia’s House, Every Child’s Hope, YMCA, and Brightside St. Louis — who provided service opportunities to our mission partners.

We are especially grateful to our mission partners who came to St. Louis from 13 different states to serve our community  — University of Georgia [Athens, GA], Hope Church [Broken Arrow, OK], University of Illinois [Chicago], Refuge Ministries [Mexico, MO], Hillside Christian Church [Kansas City, MO], First Christian Church [Norman, OK], First Christian Church [Owensboro, KY], Timberlake Christian Church [Lynchburg, VA], Eastwood Christian Church [Nashville, TN], First Christian Church [Midwest City, OK], Westwind Church [Keller, TX], St. Peter’s United Church of Christ [Kiel, WI], River Oaks Christian, South Hills Christian, and Ridglea Christian Churches [Fort Worth, TX]. Our mission partners have provided our community partners with 9540 hours of service thus far in 2015!

We continue to be amazed by the outpouring of love that feeds our Urban Mission Inn ministry. Thank you … thank you … thank you!


The Arts Group of Union Avenue [AGUA] has unveiled a new exhibition in the Gretchen Brigham Gallery entitled “APOCRYPHA.” It is the work of St. Louis artist Benjamin Pierce.

In the artist’s statement Pierce described the collection of work in the exhibit: “During this past year’s turmoil, the differences in all of our separate realities have been highlighted. We have begun to hold onto our differences as firmly as some hold onto their faiths. Our prejudices (racial, class, social, etc.) have become our religions. These imagined ‘saints’ are representations of St. Louis’ canonization of its prejudices. These images will hopefully begin some of these mythical ‘tough conversations’ on the subjects that never seem to happen.”

The exhibit includes eight large pieces depicting images of imaginary saints – representations of St. Louis’ canonization of its prejudices – which are titled: The Hashtag Activist, The Panhandler, The Wolf, Them, They, The Cosby Judas, The Privilege, The Talking Head. The 40 smaller pieces are illustrations of the artist’s enduring belief that the divine is found within the ordinary and the unnoticed. Pierce can be found on the web.

The exhibition will be displayed through September 28, 2015. An opening reception will be Thursday, August 20, 7 to 9 p.m. in the Gallery.


Summer in the city continues …

Summer in the city continues with Trio Tres Bien at the Ivory Perry Park Concert Series in July!

The summer continues to heat up and the Ivory Perry Park Concert Series continues to deliver. The Trio Tres Bien, featuring Danita Mumphard, serves up a mix of jazz and gospel Sunday, July 26. And the series rolls to a close with the Grand Elite Band sizzling with Motown classics Sunday, August 23. All performances begin at 6 p.m. on the Commerce Bank Stage in Ivory Perry Park – 800 N. Belt [63112].

Whitacre Foundation, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, Union Avenue Christian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church sponsor this neighborhood concert series. For more information visit Union Communion Ministries online.

Union Avenue Opera turns 21 …

This season promises to be full of excitement, drama, and intrigue as Union Avenue Opera sets off to present three highly anticipated company debuts – Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. And for 21 seasons the drama has unfolded in the intimate confines of Union Avenue Christian Church.

Long considered one of the greatest operas of all time, Don Giovanni is Mozart’s version of the notorious Don Juan legend. In the decadent pursuit of pleasure, Spanish nobleman Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women and leaving behind him a trail of broken hearts, broken promises, and broken lives. When Don Giovanni commits murder, he unleashes a dark power beyond his control. Scott Schoonover conducts and Jon Truitt directs this timeless masterpiece.

A tale of innocence lost, Rigoletto is Verdi’s tense and brutal tale of a deformed court jester caught in a snare of corruption, lechery, and vengeance. It is a chilling whirlwind of revenge — Rigoletto, jester to the Duke of Mantua, can not protect the person he most loves from the person he most loathes. His beloved daughter Gilda falls in love with the hated Duke and eventually sacrifices her life to save the Duke from the assassin hired by her father. This iconic melodrama boasts an action-packed plot and a parade of brilliant music, including the Duke’s boastful “la donna e mobile,” Rigoletto’s Cortigiani, vil razza dannata,” and Gilda’s stunning Caro nome.” Scott Schoonover conducts and Tim Ocel directs this tragic tale life-turned-upside-down.

A suspenseful tale of courage and sacrifice, Wagner’s tale of gods, mortals and giants draws to a close in Götterdämmerung – Twilight of the Gods. The heroic Siegfried gifts Brünnhilde with the ring as a token of their love, but they are soon caught up in events beyond their control. Brünnhilde steps forward to return the universe to its natural order in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice. Watch as the Rhine overflows, Valhalla burns, and the kingdom of the gods  is destroyed. Experience Wagner at his pinnacle, including “Starke Scheite schichten mir dort,” Brünnhilde’s immolation scene, and Siegfried’s power funeral march in this reduction and adaptation by English composer Jonathan Dove. His masterful cuts condense Götterdämmerung in length to under three hours. Götterdämmerung is the culmination of Union Avenue Opera’s Wagner Project, a four-year endeavor to present Wagner’s Ring cycle enhanced by video projections and expanding technical elements never before seen on the UAO stage. Scott Schoonover conducts and Karen Coe Miller directs the final production of the Ring cycle.

Union Avenue Christian Church and its newly remodeled first-floor gathering spaces are ready to receive UAO and its patrons for another exciting year of opera performed in its original language.